Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton’s Favorite Handbags
For royal women over the past 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II has set the tone and example of royal duty and royal dress. The Queen’s favorite fashion accessory is her handbag – there are even reports that she uses them to send private messages to her staff at public events.
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle have both followed the Queen’s example during their married life, particularly when it comes to classic style and dress, and the two Duchesses share two favorite handbag designers.
Although the Duchess of Cambridge is known for favoring clutches, Meghan arrived on the royal stage during her first royal engagement wearing a structured handbag, like those used by the Queen, from Scottish brand Strathberry.
Since first using the brand, Meghan has added more of their designs to her work wardrobe as she worked full-time in the Royal Family.
Taking Meghan’s example, Kate also acquired Strathberry bags for her wardrobe and the brand became a shared favorite among the sisters-in-law.
Strathberry was founded as a brand by husband-and-wife team Guy and Leeanne Hundleby in 2013. The Edinburgh-based operation designs all of its bags in the UK and has them made by artisans and women in Spain. The brand’s philosophy is elegant durability and the modernity of classic designs. It would have been appealing to Meghan who designed her own royal wardrobe during her working life in Britain.
Meghan has an individual style that is heavily influenced by the ease and sophistication of American designers. When she moved to Britain, Meghan sought out designers from the UK to hang out with, in keeping with the tradition of royal women dressing patriotically.
Meghan has disputed claims that she received help from a stylist in Britain, telling her communications secretary in posts as part of a legal action against the Mail on Sunday“You know how frustrating I personally find the ‘stylist’ narrative (because it’s the only thing I still seem to have control over – my personal style).”
Meghan’s first Strathberry bag debuted during a visit she and Harry made to Nottingham in 2017 ahead of the couple’s wedding. It was his first taste of what a royal engagement was like and crowds of well-wishers showed up in force to welcome him.
For the occasion, Meghan has selected the midi-tote in a navy blue, burgundy and vanilla colour. The bag sold out instantly, with a waiting list to be set up. It was the first major example of the “Meghan Effect” (an influence on consumers) in full force.
The Duchess didn’t stop there, she also acquired the tan leather midi tote she wore during a visit to Ireland a few months after her wedding, and a mini East/West bag in bottle green.
Kate also wore Strathberry for official public engagements. The Duchess has the multrees embossed croc wallet in two different colours, black and blue, which she wore on the 2021 Royal Train Tour.
Meghan’s use of structured bags with handles like those worn by the Queen has been widely reported as until then Kate Middleton and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, tended to favor clutches or no bags at all.
Both women have since embraced handbags from a range of designers, including another Meghan favourite, DeMellier, whose Venice midi bag she wore during a visit to Wales in 2019.
DeMillier is a London-based brand, with its production facilities in Spain, founded by Mireia Llusia-Lindh. The company’s style combines contemporary and vintage designs to create youthful collections that are loved by celebrities and royals alike.
Since Meghan’s debut with the Venice midi bag, Camilla has worn identical designs in bottle green and white.
Kate is also a fan of DeMellier, due to their smaller sizes and clean design. In May 2021, the Duchess wore the brand’s Nano Montreal bag which was seen as a subtle nod to her sister-in-law. This was taken from the bag being an example of a brand that Meghan had worn and also Montreal being in Canada, the country she had lived in before her marriage. It was significant because it happened just weeks after Meghan and Harry’s controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey was published.
Whether it’s Strathberry or DeMillier, Meghan and Kate have shown their love for British luxury leather goods that enhance their work wardrobes. The two have defined a strong, individual aesthetic that helps build their influence and engage audience members at home and abroad.